Vol. 1 No. 1 (2020): Global Connections
Articles

A Public Space for Muslim Women: The Hammams

Published May 14, 2020

Abstract

This paper examines the role that hammams have played in giving women a public sphere within male-dominated societies. It synthesizes three relevant academic articles that have conducted research on this topic. First, “The women's quarters in the historical hammam, Gender, Place & Culture” by Aksit Elif Ekin analyses hammams impact on women by focusing on urban planning and the physical placement of the hammams within the city of Ankara, Turkey. Second, “Communication and the social production of space: the hammam, the public sphere and Moroccan women” by Said Graiouid discusses both the trip to the hammam as well as what takes place inside of it. Lastly "Ritual, Strategy, or Convention: Social Meanings in the Traditional Women's Baths in Morocco” by Valeria Staats gives extensive details on the activities inside of the hammams based on her personal observations. Upon a review of the literature, I found that despite the negative aspects that may arise from attending hammams, they provide women with a space where they can celebrate their femininity, perform their religious activities, and discuss their lives as well as current events that make them active members of their community.